So you want to learn to back fly?

9 September 2016

Written by: Glen Wainwright: Instructor, iFLY Milton Keynes

Becoming a tunnel flyer is all about personal progression. An endless journey of discovering new skills and improving your flying abilities every time that you enter the wind flow.

When you first start this can appear quite daunting but fortunately for you, the International Bodyflight Association (IBA) has made your life easier! All of the required basic skills for tunnel flight are laid out in an easy to follow syllabus that all iFLY instructors will guide you through – find them here: The first step after becoming confident as a 'level 1', belly flyer is learning to fly in the wind tunnel on your back.

A good understanding of back flying is one of the most essential and fundamental requirements for moving into the more advanced areas of tunnel flying. Once you have gained a small amount of experience in this position you will, for the first time, be able to start moving around the tunnel transitioning your entire body through different axises under control- now we're really feeling like we're flying!. Also as a proficient back flyer, you will start to discover how it is possible to use your entire body to generate lift on the wind and move your body into other orientations. In addition to this, back flying is fun! It will enable you to fly on a far larger range of wind speeds in the tunnel than belly flying. If you haven't before, you will most likely now be able to start flying with your instructor or your friends. Flying is even more fun when we fly together.

Back flying can be challenging at first. You can expect it to be confusing and and alien in the beginning. Rest assured though that your instructor will brief you, coach you and ensure that you're kept safe throughout your progression. Remember, we all had to learn to back fly at some point so we fully sympathise with how it feels at first. In a short time though as your body starts to acclimatise to the new position you will quickly begin to understand enough of how it works to start stabilising yourself and further to that, start moving the tunnel with control. The trick is not to allow yourself to get frustrated. Accept that new skills like these require a time period to allow your brain to make those new connections with your body. Be relaxed and take things slowly at first. Once you gain a small amount of understanding, your progression will take off (pun intended).

Informational how-to videos for all of the back fly skills you will learn can be found on the IBA website at Be sure to check them out before you come to try out new skills. It will allow you to gather an understanding of what's required and also let you see what's coming next. See you in the tunnel!

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